Monday, May 29, 2017

UFC 34: Whose Lights Went Out First?

Matt Hughes (Photo:

UFC 34: High Voltage – Las Vegas, Nev. – MGM Garden Arena – Nov. 2, 2001

Matt Hughes captured the UFC welterweight title from Carlos Newton in a controversial finish at UFC 34.

Newton had almost knocked out Hughes with a triangle choke, but Hughes slammed the champion to the mat, knocking him out. Hughes had to be told that he was the winner and new champion.

Here’s a video of the finish, and here’s another video with the jubilant new champion seeming to tell his cornerman “I was out! I was out!”

The main event saw Randy Couture retain the UFC heavyweight title at the age of 38. “The Natural” defeated Pedro Rizzo by TKO in Round 3.

UFC 33: Let's Hear It For the Judges

Time to call The Janitor (Photo:

UFC 33: Victory in Vegas – Las Vegas, Nev. – Mandalay Bay Events Center - Sept. 28, 2001

Sometimes a fight card looks great on paper, but it just falls flat. Welcome to UFC 33.

Tito Ortiz was set to defend his light heavyweight title against Vitor Belfort in a stellar matchup. It was UFC's first show in Las Vegas, and pay-per-view carriers were warming up to televising UFC again.

However, due to Belfort’s arm injury, Ortiz battled “The Janitor” Vladimir Matyushenko and beat him via unanimous decision.

In fact, all of the pay-per-view bouts ended in decisions. No knockouts. No submissions. Let’s go to the judges … again.

That caused the show to run long, so the main event was cut off on some pay-per-view carriers.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

UFC 32: First Bite of the Big Apple

An unexpectedly ominous poster (Photo: sherdog,com)

UFC 32: Showdown at the Meadowlands – June 29, 2001 – E. Rutherford, N.J. - Continental Airlines Arena

UFC invaded the New York area with UFC 32. The promo poster featured Tito Ortiz and Elvis Sinosic in front of the Twin Towers, which were destroyed less than four months later.

Ortiz remained one of the company’s top stars, as he beat Sinosic to retain the light heavyweight title.

The champ used a series of punches and elbows to earn the TKO over “The King of Rock & Rumble” in 3 minutes, 32 seconds.

“The Prodigy” B.J. Penn improved to 2-0 in the UFC with a TKO win over the debuting Din Thomas.

Monday, May 22, 2017

UFC 31: Heavyweight Slugfest

Randy Couture (Photo:

UFC 31: Locked and Loaded – Atlantic City, N.J. - Trump Taj Mahal - May 4, 2001

Randy Couture hung onto his UFC heavyweight title with a unanimous decision win over Pedro Rizzo at UFC 31.

Couture bloodied Rizzo in the first round, and the challenger came back to bust Couture open in the second round.  Couture rallied in the fourth and fifth rounds to retain his title.

Carlos Newton captured the UFC welterweight title, forcing longtime champion Pat Miletich to submit to a bulldog choke in Round 3.

UFC 30: The Era of Zuffa Begins

Lorenzo & Frank Fertitta bought UFC in early 2001

UFC 30: Battle on the Boardwalk – Trump Taj Mahal – Atlantic City, N.J. – Feb. 23, 2001

New UFC owners Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta presented the “All-New” UFC 30, with Dana White running the show for the brothers’ Zuffa LLC.

The first show under new ownership didn’t present a dramatic change, but the company was now free from the threat of bankruptcy.

Check out this video of White (with hair!) talking about his vision for the company on the UFC 30 broadcast.

Tito Ortiz retained his UFC middleweight title in the main event. He knocked Evan Tanner out with a huge slam in just 30 seconds.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

UFC 29: Out With The Old Owners

Matt Lindland (Photo:

UFC 29: Defense of the Belts – Tokyo, Japan – Differ Ariake Arena – Dec. 16, 2000

Tito Ortiz and Pat Miletich successfully defended their titles in Japan at UFC 29, the final show under the ownership of Semaphore Entertainment Group.

Ortiz retained the light heavyweight belt by defeating Yuki Kondo with a neck crank at the 1:52 mark. Kondo was no slouch, as he racked up 59 wins in his career.

Pat Miletich continued to dominate as lightweight champion. He beat Kenichi Yamamoto with a guillotine choke in Round 2 for his fourth title defense.

Monday, May 15, 2017

UFC 28: Return to Greatness

Randy Couture (Photo:

UFC 28: High Stakes – Atlantic City, N.J. - Trump Taj Mahal – Nov. 17, 2000

Randy “The Natural” Couture recaptured the UFC heavyweight title, beating Kevin Randleman at UFC 28.

Couture had relinquished the title in 1998 during a contract dispute, but he used knees and punches to score a TKO late in Round 3 to repeat as champion.

Renato “Babalu” Sobral brought a 16-2 record into the UFC, and he immediately made a splash by defeating former UFC heavyweight champion Maurice Smith by unanimous decision.

UFC 27: Unwelcome Home

Dan Severn (Photo:

UFC 27: Ultimate Bad Boyz – New Orleans, La. – Lakefront Arena – Sept. 22, 2000

Dan Severn had a rough return to the Octagon at UFC 27, as he lost to Pedro “The Rock” Rizzo in 93 seconds.

Rizzo softened up the 42-year-old former UFC Superfight champion with two crushing leg kicks, and Severn was unable to continue.

Rizzo was reinvigorated by the win, bouncing back from a loss to Kevin Randleman three months earlier at UFC 26.

“The old Pedro Rizzo is back,” he said. “I come to knock everybody out.”

Monday, May 8, 2017

UFC 26: The Crowd Goes Mild

Jens Pulver (Photo

UFC 26: Ultimate Field of Dreams – June 9, 2000 – Cedar Rapids, Iowa – Five Seasons Events Center

Kevin Randleman and Pedro Rizzo battled for the heavyweight title at UFC 26 to make up for the “Backstage Knockout” incident at UFC 24.

The fans booed the fighters out of the building, after they presented a boring, tentative fight. Randleman retained the title by unanimous decision.

“I understand the boos and I definitely deserve it,” Randleman said. “I think Pedro and I just respected each other too much.”

Pat Miletich made Iowa proud by retaining his UFC welterweight title against John Alessio at UFC 26.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

UFC 25: Bad Boy For Life

Tito Ortiz wins UFC light heavyweight title
Photo: (

UFC 25: Ultimate Japan 3 – Tokyo, Japan – Yoyogi National Gymnasium – April 14, 2000

Tito Ortiz captured the UFC light heavyweight title at UFC 25 with a unanimous decision win over Wanderlei Silva.

Six months earlier, Ortiz had come up short in his quest to win the title from Frank Shamrock. However, Shamrock’s retirement gave him another chance.

Silva was coming off three straight wins in PRIDE and he would go on to star for that promotion.

Monday, May 1, 2017

UFC 24: Backstage Knockout

Pedro Rizzo: Where's my opponent?
(Photo: Pinterest)

UFC 24: First Defense – Lake Charles (La.) Civic Center – March 10, 2000

Kevin Randleman knocked himself out backstage, scuttling his main event title defense against Pedro Rizzo at UFC 24.

The show was subtitled “First Defense” but it turned into “No Defense” due to Randleman’s slip, which landed him in the hospital with a concussion.

The non-main event typified the UFC as the new millennium began: nothing was going right. UFC was still exiled from many PPV carriers, and the company’s invasion of Japan wasn’t bearing much fruit.

The Randleman-Rizzo title fight was rescheduled for UFC 26.

UFC 23: Return to the Rising Sun

UFC Heavyweight Champion Kevin Randleman

UFC 23 – Ultimate Japan 2 – Tokyo Bay NK Hall – Nov. 19, 1999

Kevin Randleman made the most of his second chance to become UFC heavyweight champion at UFC 23: Ultimate Japan 2.

Although Randleman lost to Bas Rutten in a title fight at UFC 20, Rutten vacated the title in order to drop to middleweight and challenge for Frank Shamrock’s title. That never happened, as Rutten was forced into retirement by injuries.

Randleman battled for five rounds with Pete “El Duro” Williams, who had posted a 3-1 record in UFC. Williams clobbered Randleman late in the first round, but "The Monster" rallied to control the rest of the fight and win by unanimous decision.